Idukki (Ker): Five people were killed when a mound of earth caved in on a row of houses of tea estate workers at Pettimudi in the high range Idukki district early Friday morning as heavy rains pounded the area triggering a landslide. Police sources told PTI that five bodies have been recovered. Five others who were injured have been rushed to the Tata General Hospital. At least 70 people were suspected to be trapped under the soil, burying as many as 20 houses of plantation workers. Police and Fire service personnel rushed to the spot and the district administration has asked hospitals in the region to stay prepared. The state Health department has dispatched 15 ambulances and a special medical team to provide medical assistance to those affected by the landslides in Idukki. Meanwhile, the office of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has contacted the Air Force seeking its helicopter for the rescue mission in Idukki. "The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has been deployed for the rescue operations in Idukki. The team was already stationed in the district. Another NDRF team from Thrissur was also directed to move to Idukki," Vijayan said. in a Facebook post. The India Meteorological Department had issued a red alert for Idukki on Friday, indicating extremely heavy rainfall of over 20 cms. Munnar MLA S Rajendran told the media that it was difficult to reach the spot as a bridge which provided access to the area was washed away in the rains. "At least 200-300 people live there. There are many lanes and a canteen at the location. We are yet to receive further details. Since one of the bridges to that area was destroyed last night, it has become difficult to access the region," he added. "Also, those who are there are finding it difficult to contact us because the only mobile tower there is not functioning properly due to power failure," Rajendran said. Workers from a nearby estate have rushed to the spot for rescue operations.
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